Just Keep Swimming

Almost two years ago I declared that I would never drink alcohol again. I am very hard-headed. I can be extremely arrogant and once I’ve decided on something I dive in, determined to swim. It was a bit of a panicky, floppy, doggy paddle in the beginning but eventually it turned into a calm easy backstroke. After 18 months of stargazing and cloud viewing I ran into a buoy called moderation. If you, the reader have read any of my blog posts before, you know where this is going. I slipped, more than once in the past six months. I am not starting over. I’m not going to reset the clock to saying that I quit drinking last Sunday. But I do want to be honest with everyone who follows me, who knows me and who may be wondering where I’m at with sobriety. I’m also writing this to humble myself and bring myself down a few notches. I inhaled a mouth full of salt water, chocked on it for awhile but I’m breathing again and plan to just keep swimming.

 

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365 Days

One year ago today I woke up on the couch. I was sleeping sitting up with my head on a cushion and my neck in an awful position. I was sleeping this way to prevent myself from getting sick. I opened my eyes and almost instantly had a sinking, terrible feeling in my stomach that was in no way related to nausea. I picked up my phone and began texting apologies to countless people; some were received graciously while others were not. My hands were trembling, my body was shaking and all I wanted to do was cry. I said to myself “I never want to drink again”. I had said this before, multiple times, but something felt different. I said it again and again until finally it came out “I will never drink again.”

It’s been one year.

It’s been one year since I’ve had a hangover, since I’ve woke up ashamed and embarrassed because of what I might have done the night before (because God knows I didn’t remember). One year since I’ve “rewarded” myself by getting drunk. One year since I’ve had to text people apologies for driving drunk, for my loud mouth, emotional outbursts or just flat out crude or harsh behavior.

What have I learned?

I’ve learned how to act in a social situation without having any liquid courage. I’ve learned how to have a debate without getting choked up, raising my voice, or embarrassing myself while defending my opinion. I’ve learned how to have fun late into the night without feeling like complete shit the next day. I learned that alcohol exaggerates everything and drunk reality isn’t real.

When you can’t have a drink you’re forced to face yourself; all your quarks, flaws and insecurities. You’re forced to get to know who you are. And then, as time goes on, you begin to accept who you’ve become.

I am not a loud mouth, inappropriate, overly dramatic person. I was all of those things because I was drunk. I am not an awkward, uncomfortable, social outcast. I drank because I thought I was all of those things if I wasn’t drinking.

I am fun. I am funny. I am caring and loving. I am sober.

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213 Days

I am standing at the end of a table. I’m surrounded by people I have met but do not know. They are socializing with each other, sipping on wine or scotch and I stand alone, club soda in hand, smiling.

There are moments in life when I come into my body. My head comes out of the clouds, out of its busy thinking and I am fully alert and aware of the situation I am in. People around the world strive for this kind of awareness. I too have taken classes on it, and it isn’t easy. But every once in a while it just happens, without meditation, without effort and without struggle.

This is what’s happening at the end of the table. At a business function flowing with cocktails and wine, the air is thick with pretension and arrogance, and I am calm. I am calm and content and have no insecurities. I don’t feel awkward or ashamed, embarrassed or stuttery; instead I feel confident in my own skin. Alcohol plays no part in my new-found comfort. And just now I realize all these years of drinking to be comfortable actually caused more discomfort and embarrassment. I just wasn’t aware until I awoke.
I am sober. I am confident. And for the first time, I am comfortable.

7 months

Still Standing

It’s that time of year and that means everything gets a little bit harder, especially eating healthy.

Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. I haven’t completely fallen off the health wagon. I am still sober and still eating healthy. This past Saturday marks 5 months alcohol free. I have also made it the entire month of November without a candy bar. So I’m still rocking and rolling, kind of.

On November 1st it snowed in South Carolina. It was record breaking cold, it was raining, it was wet and icy and needless to say, I did not participate in the 5k. On an even worse note, the coughing has returned so running is on the back burner right now.

I’m going back to the doctor on December 5th and I’m not quite sure what will happen but the whole thing really pisses me off. And usually when one thing goes wrong I throw my hands up and completely give up. I have not done that this time, at least not completely. I haven’t been as strict with my food choices but when I look at what I used to eat, there’s a pretty significant improvement. Let me show you what I mean…

A typical day in May 2014:
Breakfast: Coffee with peppermint mocha coffee creamer or a white chocolate mocha from McDonald’s.
Snack: Pretzels or Cookies (if the cookie of the month came in).
Lunch: Wendy’s Ranch Chicken Club Sandwich (chicken served spicy and fried) with a large order of French Fries and a large Diet Coke (who wants the extra sugar of a regular?). Or a Big Mac Meal (large) from McDonald’s, or a 4 Piece Chicken Strip meal with French Fries and a Biscuit from Bojangles with a Sweet Tea (because I’m sure there’s less sugar in a sweet tea than there is in a regular soda).
Basically, I had a specific order for each fast food restaurant within a 10 mile radius.
Snack (again): A sharing size bag of peanut butter M&M’s (except I didn’t share).
Dinner: could be anything from Shake & Bake Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, to Hamburger Helper, or a large pizza from Papa Johns (we’d eat it all), maybe fast-food again, or something with a lot of pasta.
Dessert: We would usually eat a very large bowl of Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream or I’d have a King Size Take-5 and Kenny would have Skittles, or sometimes cookies and milk. And dessert was never skipped.

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A typical day now;
Breakfast: Coffee with a splash of half & half and a banana.
Lunch: A can of tuna and some vegetables or a turkey wrap or a salad. For a drink I have either a Seltzer Water or an Unsweetened Iced Tea. And every once in a blue moon I splurge and get a chicken salad sandwich on whole grain bread and a small fry.
Dinner: This is where I’ve been getting creative lately with different healthy items. Chili with 97% fat free beef, or something with spaghetti squash where I psych us out to think we’re eating pasta, and every once in a while we’ll go out to eat but we still try to order healthy meals. And ok, we have had a pizza in the past 2 months but we didn’t eat the whole thing.
Dessert: Usually we just end the night with hot tea (no honey) or I’ll blend up a frozen banana with some all natural peanut butter and cocoa to get rid of the ice cream craving.

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So basically, when I start getting really hard on myself because I don’t feel like things are working or I start feeling like a failure, I think about all of this and realize just how far I’ve come. In 2013 those typical days would have included all of that junk food plus beer or wine, a pack of cigarettes, and 3-5 Mountain Dew’s. So no, I haven’t been running, and yes I have eaten some pizza, and yes, I even had a piece of cake on Kenny’s birthday but no, I am not giving up. I am not going to use the Holidays as an excuse to ruin the progress that I’ve made. If we can have a healthy Halloween then we can have a healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

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(
Tangerines, veggies, deviled eggs with organic mayo, all-natural tortilla chips and hummus)

Kenny and I have signed up for 4 Bikram Yoga classes, we’re looking into private MMA (mixed martial arts) lessons, and I am starting a Paleo Challenge on December 1st. In other words, I’m still around, still kickin, I’ve just got to start breathing before I can post more funny exercise stories!

Happy Holidays everyone and thanks for reading!

On to the next

I went on a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas, I came home and got on a plane and spent 4 days in Jamaica.
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I had 5 days in-between trips. I ran twice on the cruise, and I did one workout in Jamaica. In other words, I slacked off big time for a large chunk of October.
Everywhere I went in Jamaica someone was there offering or handing me drinks. There were “mangosas” (Mango Juice and Champagne), Bob Marley’s (strawberry daiquiri,  pina-colada, and something green on top),  BBC’s (Baileys, Banana, and Coconut), alcoholic fruit punch, alcohol in coffee, rum ice-cream, rum runners, white and red wine, mudslides, and on and on it goes. There was alcohol everywhere and in everything and it all looked delicious. I have never said, “No, thank you” and “I’m sorry, I don’t drink” so many times in my life. 
Somehow I (or the sabotaging voice) turned this into the perfect excuse to eat whatever I wanted. I mean come on, I was being so strong-willed and awesome saying no to all these drinks I couldn’t say no to wild-berry cheesecake and chocolate coconut cupcakes too. So I ate, and I ate like a gross fat-kid hiding in the closet with the whole box of ho-ho’s. And now, because of this, I have decided to give up sugar completely. 
No more Take 5’s after dinner because I ate healthy all day and deserve some candy. No more I’ll skip lunch so I can eat dessert (but really I ate enough snacks to equal lunch and still had dessert). No more peppermint mocha coffee creamer and no more “maybe just a bite”. 
I’ve written about moderation with alcohol, and how it’s impossible for me to do. Well apparently sugar is the same way. The main reason I fell into this unhealthy rabbit hole was because I told myself I can’t deprive myself of everything, otherwise I’ll fail. 
Um, no. I fail because I start off with just a little bit, just one little candy bar this one time, and that turns into 1 king size Take 5 every night, and then finally I end up with a dessert the size of a dinner plate and I finish the whole thing!
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So, no more!
I know it will be hard. I know there could even be withdrawal, headaches, irritability, mood swings, and of course, extreme food cravings. I also know that I’ve already experienced all of these things before with quitting smoking and quitting alcohol. My personality is obnoxious; it latches on to things and can’t get enough. So, now I have to find a way to get myself to latch on to exercise and fitness instead of sweet treats. 

I am not going to give up fruit, but I’m also not going to allow myself to start eating ridiculous amounts of fruit because I can’t have any sugar. My plan is to drink a hot mug of tea (without honey) every time I get a craving, to be nice to myself, and to have some headache medicine at the ready. 

My reward for not eating any Halloween candy is a 5K at 8am the next morning.
Wish me luck 🙂 

Weights, Food & Love

I did my first bodyweight workout.
The first set was a breeze! I was patting myself on the back during my 90 second rest and thinking, “I don’t even need this break. I got this!”
By the 3rd set I thought I was dying. I was soaked, I was wobbly, and I almost face planted during a lunge. I checked the stop watch during my 90 second break. This workout was supposed to take 15 minutes at the most. I was at 13 minutes and still had another set to do. I rushed through the last set, the time said 15 minutes and then I laid on the floor, positive I wouldn’t be able to ever get up again.
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The next day, I was so sore I couldn’t go for my run. I took the day off of exercising and used my extra time to cook something healthy.
I wanted comfort food. It’s fall and I wanted something warm and filling and delicious.
I decided to make chili. The problem I was having is that usually I eat chili with fritos or cornbread and since I couldn’t have either of those this meal wasn’t sounding as comforting as I wanted.
I decided to see if there was any paleo recipes for cornbread.


I came across this recipe Paleo “Cornbread” Dinner Muffins. I had most of these ingredients so I decided after work I’d go buy the coconut flour and give it a try. I went to Food Lion and they did not have any coconut flour. I was about to throw my hands up and just buy fritos when I noticed Almond Flour. I have never cooked with either so I said screw it, and figured I’d give it a try. When I got home I realized I did not have any applesauce either. I decided to improvise that one too and took a little bit of banana, mashed it up (my arms were so sore that the mashing process felt like I was tearing all the muscles in my arm pit) and put that in instead . I was nervous, usually if I’m cooking in a bad mood the food doesn’t turn out very well, especially if it’s a new recipe. Kenny got home and we sat down to eat (sitting was a difficult process too after all the squats and lunges). I took a bite out of one of the improvised “cornbread muffins” and it was… delicious! Kenny ate 4 of them and then said he wanted the rest for breakfast.  The chili was warm and wonderful and paired with these sweet little muffins I definitely got the comfort meal I was looking for. And it’s a good thing too because the next day was complete and total shit.

Wednesday, October 1st:
Some days the universe just has it out for you.
Kenny and I listed our house for sale. We had someone that was very interested. She came and saw the house twice, first by herself and then with her mother. She was very sweet and continuously said how much she loved it. It’s listed for $89,000.00 she offered $65,000.00. Needless to say, that sale didn’t go through and that’s how the day started. Kenny had the day off so he decided he would re-do the bathroom floor before we had another showing that night. I came home on my lunch break and he told me to re-schedule the showing because it was going to take longer than expected. When I got back to work I had to deal with obnoxious customer after obnoxious customer. I was slammed, I was annoyed, and I wanted to cry because of the house. At one point I almost thought I was going to start crying right there at my desk. When the clock hit 5pm, I rushed to close up the office and get out of there. Kenny called and said the bathroom project wasn’t finished. It was disastrous and he had a horrible day and had to get out of the house. I picked him up and we went and sat outside at chili’s. We were both on edge, teeth clenched, and barely talking. We of course got a super perky chatty server that wanted to joke and talk to us and she was not picking up on the fact that that neither one of us were in the mood. Our food came and we started eating. About 4 bites in, a bee decided to join us. It swarmed right at Kenny’s face first and then went for his plate. After Kenny swatted him away he flew over to me, I couldn’t get him to go away. We both started laughing, that scary on the verge of total breakdown/flip out kind of laughing. All I wanted was a drink, a big, strong alcoholic beverage. I wanted liquor and cigarettes and I wanted a lot of both. Kenny looked at me and said, “it’s rigged, today has to be rigged.”
We left, we rode silently back home and I decided I was going to go for a run. My mind wanted a drink and a cigarette? Well my body was going to get a workout instead. Kenny decided to join me. He ran a little bit ahead of me and we ran in silence as the sun went down for 2 miles in about 25 minutes. It was nice. My mind was focused on my breathing and the rhythm of running instead of on our house not selling or finances. This, I thought, must be why people get addicted to exercising. Kenny and I walked back to the car, chugged some water, and then smiled at each other, real big genuine smiles… and then we took some selfies 😉
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This guy is the most supportive, understanding and accepting person I have ever met.
He has backed me 100% and even joined me in trying new foods and exercising. I admire people that can change their lives on their own but I am so glad that I was blessed with someone willing to help and change with me. I don’t know how he can deal with my crazy outbursts, my whining on the couch saying I just want a big mac, or my healthy cooking fails (because there have been a few), but he does, and he does it well. He challenges me, he spoils me, he’s my best friend and I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you Kenny, for everything you do for me.

Oh and after a day like yesterday, I decided I’d wait to weigh myself until I was in a better mood 😉
The bathroom should be an easy fix, and we have another showing on Saturday.
All is well, thanks for reading!

Aint nothing gonna break my stride!

Aint nothing gonna break my stride!

Oh but something will certainly try to.

I decided to start running, well more like jogging. It’s hard and exhausting but I do enjoy it and it feels great. However, little things are trying to get in my way. The sabotaging voice is not just a voice after all.

I went to the beach with my family in the beginning of August and my sister and I decided to jog every morning. My legs didn’t throb, I didn’t get any side cramps, but I could not breathe. I could not catch my breath, even after we stopped running.
Natalee tried to give me advice, thinking that I was probably just breathing wrong and nothing seemed to work. I did not run after we got back from the beach, and I basically stopped exercising.
I went to the doctor for the first time in about 4 years, and after a PF test and a chest x-ray it turns out I had bronchitis. Well, that explains the coughing fits after a burst of laughter. 
Anyhow, this was very exciting news for me. The doctor told me after I finished antibiotics and used an inhaler for a couple weeks; I shouldn’t have any breathing problems during exercise.

My goal last week was to be able to run a mile without stopping.
I started on Wednesday. I was a little nervous that it was too soon to be able to tell a difference with my lungs since I had just finished my antibiotics but I really wanted to test it out. I pressed start on the Charity Miles App and started jogging. I made it half a mile in 6 minutes and was completely out of breath. I actually thought I was going to throw up. I ignored the sabotaging voice that was saying things like,
“This is pointless.”
“You suck!”
“hahahaha, you can’t even run longer than 6 minutes”
Instead, I walked for 3 more miles and decided I’d come back the next day.

The next day was hot, humid and very sticky. I only ran for 3 minutes before the vomit feeling showed up. I tuned out the voice again and said to myself, “It’s okay! You’re out here, you’re trying, keep going at your own pace.” I walked, I seemed to catch my breath a lot quicker, and started jogging again. I did this walk/jog for 2.7 miles before deciding it was too hot to go any longer.

The third day was much nicer. There was actually a breeze. I made it .8 miles.

I took Saturday off, because my ankle didn’t feel quite right and I didn’t want to push too hard and end up injured and unable to continue.

Yesterday, I was going for the mile.
And here is when the sabotaging voice, became a sabotaging force.
I put my headphones in, pressed play on my work out tunes, and pressed start on the Charity Miles App. I started jogging. As I’m jogging, my headphone cord starts smacking me in the face. I tuck it in to my shirt, without stopping and while trying not to trip over anything. I get back into the flow and my headphones start pulling out of my ears because the cord is stuffed down my shirt. I pull the cord back out and just decide to let it smack me in the face. The wonderful feeling and rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, one after another was accompanied by this cord slapping me in the face over and over. I ignore it. I am determined to go the mile. I begin sweating. As gross as it is, I don’t really mind it because it means I’m working hard. The sweat makes my bangs get wet and they too, begin smacking me in the face. It’s fine, whatever, I can ignore those too. 
The first song finishes and the sabotaging voice starts telling me that I have to pee. I do not have to pee. I just used the restroom before I started running and it’s only been like 4 minutes. Add that to my ignore list. I decide to focus on my breathing, because it hasn’t been bothering me and I’m super excited about this. Then I get a side cramp. You know the kind that makes you want to distort your body to one side to make it not feel like that anymore? Yeah, that kind.  But it’s okay I’ll focus on the music and ignore that too. Sail is a really great song, very distracting. I almost really don’t care about the cord hitting my chin, the bangs that keep hitting my right eyeball, the feeling that I have to pee, and the side cramp. It’s all good; I’m just focusing on the music. Pandora then decides it’s time for an advertisement. In my head I’m screaming,
“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE F***ING KIDDING ME!!”
I’m starting to think I’m going to quit. I look at how far I’ve gone as another song starts and I’m at .8. I have to keep going.
When I looked and it said 1.06 all of those things disappeared (mainly because I stopped running). I was ecstatic! My legs were on fire, I was drenched with sweat, but I was happy. Not only was I super proud of myself, but I could still breathe too!        Adrienne: 1          Sabotaging Voice/Force: 0

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Sweaty with success!

As far as eating healthy goes, I’m feeling a lot better than I was at the beginning of the month (The Big Reveal (The Big Breakdown)). I’ve been reading a lot about Paleo and I like it. But I also like dairy. I watched Food Inc. too and that’s been on my mind a lot. As of right now I’m basically just using common sense about food and doing smaller portions: unlimited veggies, some fruit, and protein; mostly chicken, (although Food Inc. has made this difficult for me) and fish. I’m doing some red meat from time to time, Greek yogurt and yogurt dressings, nuts, some dark chocolate, and limited amounts of cheese. I’m not eating any bread, pasta, tortillas, rice, oats, or grains. This is mainly because it’s easier for me to cut it out completely than to moderate it. I’m also not eating pork (even bacon), corn or potatoes.

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Chicken and “Pasta” Salad, without the pasta.

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Steak, Mashed Cauliflower, Asparagus

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Cauliflower “Home Fries”

I’ll be honest, I’ve cheated sometimes. I’ve had some tortilla chips and salsa, I’ve grabbed a French Fry off of Kenny’s plate when they look too good to resist. I haven’t given up my flavored coffee creamer (or coffee for that matter), and I still use small amounts of butter. But overall, still healthy, still sober (85 days), and I feel great!

“Ain’t nothin’ gonna to break my stride
Nobody’s gonna slow me down, oh-no
I got to keep on movin'”